Know Your Lore: The Twilight’s Hammer
They were born on Draenor. For years, many believed them a mere clan, one created by Gul’dan and led by his Ogre apprentice Cho’gall. But they were born out of the void magic leaked into the underground of Nagrand by a trapped Naaru. These Void magics twisted those exposed to them in both body and mind until only the visions remained. Visions of the end of all things, of a universe swallowed in eternal darkness.
This simple truth must always be remembered. Before they were a clan, before they were a cult, they were the Pale, Orcs who bathed in the darkness and saw its ultimate triumph. There was no future, no hope. There was only the coming darkness. Everything we may have — our lives, our hopes, our dreams of the future, any victories — is just the twilight before the coming eternal night. No matter how grand the glory, it is as the setting sun flaring forth into beautiful light along the horizon. As ephemeral, and just as ultimately pointless.
Chaining the ancient ones below the world’s crust? It means nothing. Stopping a mad titan from destroying your world? It means nothing. Vanquishing a legion of demons? It means nothing. All your struggles do is hasten the end.
The dawn of twilight
The Pale Orcs would have remained a cult on the fringes of the fringes of Orc society, if not for the coming of Cho’gall. Blasphemous, and emaciated by the darkness K’ure bled into their world. The Ogre was hungry for power, power enough to supplant his nominal overlord Mar’gok. Mar’gok, in turn, saw Cho’gall’s lust for power and sought to assassinate him.
Cho’gall’s ‘loyalty’ to Gul’dan and the Shadow Council was just another alliance of convenience as the Ogre sought to learn the ways of Fel magic. So when Gul’dan sent Cho’gall to investigate in Nagrand, he wasn’t interested in Gul’dan’s reasoning. He himself was from Nagrand after all. As an Ogre from Highmaul he doubted there was anything of interest below Oshu’gun.
Instead he found the maddened ones. Rather than being forced to fight them, he found himself welcomed and taught by the Pale Orcs. He cared nothing for their prophecies of madness and universal death. But the obvious power they hoarded was something he greatly desired. He returned to Gul’dan with these new magics and a host of Pale Orcs to serve as the nucleus of a new clan. At that time, Cho’gall was merely telling the Pale what they wanted to hear. That the Horde was a force of destruction that would usher the universe to its natural end. He didn’t mean it.
War and the spread of madness
Cho’gall led the Twilight’s Hammer throughout the First and Second Wars. At first, he was merely the de factor head of the clan. Upon the arrival of the Horde to Azeroth he was forced to step in and lead them by a simple fact. The Pale were not tractable. Warchief Blackhand was considering having the entire Twilight’s Hammer exterminated as an example to the rest of the Horde. But Azeroth had something special, as far as the Pale were concerned.
It had Old Gods. Immediately upon arrival the Pale Orcs heard the whispers of the Old Gods, driven into a state of rapture. The Void so much louder and easier to hear on Azeroth. Cho’gall alone could convince them to listen to orders from the Horde by playing on their devotion. Yes, he told them, the Hour of Twilight was close at hand. The Horde was the means of its coming. The Horde would bring it about. Serve the Horde now, and eventually this would lead to the destruction of all things.
While telling them these things, Cho’gall came to believe them himself. He could feel the power of the Old Gods on Azeroth. It was so much easier to reach out to the Void there. Easier to tap into their dread power. Even as he led the Twilight’s Hammer in service to the Shadow Council and Gul’dan, and the Horde through them, he was delving into the whispers that had driven the Pale into such a frenzy and finding a new truth in them. He brokered a deal with the elementals who held Blackrock Mountain in sway for Ragnaros. This allowed the Horde to claim the top of the mountain. In so doing, he made common cause with those who served the Old Gods in the distant past.
The call of C’Thun
Cho’gall served Gul’dan willingly enough because their purposes dovetailed. Even once Cho’gall began to hear the whispers of the Old Gods he still saw Gul’dan and his naked lust for power a useful tool for the purpose of the Twilight’s Hammer. A means to bring about the destruction the Old Gods craved. And they seemed to agree with Cho’gall, urging him onward. When Gul’dan discovered the location of the Tomb of Sargeras they were only too happy that he should find and breach it. Cho’gall and his clan joined Gul’dan on his trip. However, he never intended to go into the Tomb. When the enraged forces of Doomhammer fell upon the Stormreaver clan and those of the Twilight’s Hammer Cho’gall felt expendable, the Ogre Mage was no longer there.
Far from remaining on the Broken Isles, Cho’gall went further west. Drawn by the whispers, he eventually found Kalimdor, and made his way south to Silithus. There, he would commune with C’Thun and become ever more convinced that the prophecies the Pale had shared with him back in Nagrand were true. There was indeed a rising darkness that would swallow the universe whole, and nothing could possibly stop it.
While there, he also took steps to spread these messages. No longer would the Twilight’s Hammer be a mere clan of crazed Orcs. The Pale had served their purpose but now Cho’gall envisioned a new Twilight’s Hammer, one that spread the message of destruction to every willing heart. Humans, Orcs, anyone who would listen. While the Third War raged, Cho’gall wasn’t concerned. The Legion brought chaos and destruction and both would serve his masters, one way or another. And he was proved right, as the war brought him more followers. The Twilight’s Hammer grew in secret in the aftermath of that terrible conflict, and for a decade after they continued to grow in power.
Next time, the coming of Deathwing and the rise of the Hammer.
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